Sunday, December 24, 2006

The boys go Vegas - a new family tradition

At the last minute, we were able to get tickets to the Pioneer Purevision Las Vegas Bowl via friend Mark Russell in Oregon who hooked me up with former player (lettered in 1976) Roy Ward in Nephi, Utah.

Last year, we went to the game with my sons Jed and David, their friend Austin McMillan, and my nephew Gabe Davis. David and Austin are now on LDS missions.

This year, my son, Jed, nephew, Gabe Davis, his friend, Grant Holyoke, BYU 68th ward member David Douma, and I drove down Thursday morning, checked in to our room at Nellis AFB, and got to the game about an hour early. The stadium was already about half full with mostly BYU fans. Our seats were in the corner of the south endzone 8 rows up.

Before the game, Cosmo came up and high-fived us and others around us. A highlight of the pregame was a huge American flag held by airmen from Nellis that covered the field, and flyover by two F-15s out of Nellis during the national anthem -- they hit their afterburners just over the stadium. Cool sight against the cobalt blue sky. Screaming jets: "the sound of freedom".

The PAC-10's Oregon Ducks were apparently upset at having to play a mid-major conference team in a lower-tier bowl. Their head coach said he didn't believe BYU could compete in the PAC-10. It would be interesting to see how Oregon would compete in the MWC. They ended the season with four losses and got embarrassed by BYU. For my part, I think they wanted to win and played hard, but were beaten by a superior team.

After the game, we rushed the field.

I was able to slap the shoulder pads of linebacker Bryan Kehl and tell him "Great game, Bryan." I also came face to face with running back Curtis Brown. I asked him if he got his 100 yards (he needed just over 100 yards to become the first BYU running back to go over 1,000 for two consecutive seasons). He said, "Yes!" John Beck came by me and tapped me on my shoulder on the way to the trophy presentation stand, "Excuse me. I need to get by, please." I was able to talk briefly with Daniel Coats (lots of people were taking pictures of him with their kids -- he's married and has three of his own!). I said, "Thanks for all the good memories, Daniel." He said, "Thank you, sir." I was with a crowd surrounding game MVP tight end Jonny Harline while he was interviewed by KSL TV's Tom Kirkland.

We had a blast. We'll plan to do it again next year.


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